Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Judge Allows Use of Race in Berkeley's School Desegregation Plan, Chicano Activist/Scholar Carlos Munoz to Keynote Urban School Boards Meeting in SF

As the US Supreme Court is poised to possibly strike down the use of race in school desegregation plans in the next couple of months, a SF Bay Area Superior Court Judge ruled yesterday that Berkeley Unified School District can use race in its voluntary school desegregtion plan. Bob Egelko from the SF Chronicle reported this morning:

The 9,000-student Berkeley Unified School District has taken measures since 1968 to promote racial balance between schools in the largely minority flatlands and the mostly white hillside and UC Berkeley neighborhoods.
Its current plan, adopted in 2004, gives each neighborhood of four to eight blocks a diversity rating, based on parents' income and educational levels and the students' racial composition. The district uses that rating to promote balance at the city's 11 elementary schools and in special academic programs at Berkeley High School.
In her ruling, Smith said the enrollment system does not violate Prop. 209's ban on racial preferences because the district considers race only indirectly, as a factor in a neighborhood's diversity rating, and does not determine individual student placements.
"The district simply takes racial diversity into account, along with other diversity indicators, as a means of achieving its goals of integration of its schools,'' the judge said."

Chicano Social Justice Movement Activist/Scholar Carlos Munoz Keynotes the urban school boards national conference in San Francisco 4/13

One of my mentors, Civil Rights, Peace and Social Justice Leader Dr. Carlos Munoz, is giving the keynote at our Council of Urban Boards of Education - CUBE - conference this Friday the 13th at 9am at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco's Union Square area. As a young educational justice organizer and activist Carlos helped lead the 1968 East Los Angeles youth movements and 'blowouts' dramatized in last year's HBO film Walkout. Here are Munoz' May 20, 2006 remarks to the Chicano/Latino Graduation Ceremony at UC Berkeley last year in the midst of the largest US social justice protests in generations from March-May 2006 for immigrant rights and dignity -

I want to share my Vision for an authentic Multiracial Democracy that I have kept in mind throughout my life of struggle and activism. It is my graduation gift to you to keep in mind as you develop into our nation's leaders.

My vision is that Americans of all colors, religions, sexual preferences, men and women will give birth to an authentic Multiracial Democracy. A Democracy that will promote a true racial and ethnic diversity and equality in everyday life. A Democracy that honors its immigrant legacies and values as equal all immigrant workers whether they are documented or undocumented.

A Democracy that will promote social justice, religious tolerance, non-violence, and peace at home and abroad. A Democracy with a government that will include a representative of every diverse group at the table of political power on behalf of the people, not the military-prison-corporate complex.

A Democracy with a national political multiparty electoral system where candidates for election include the poor and working class, not just those who are rich or middle class. With an electoral system where every vote will in fact be counted. No more Florida's, no more Ohio's, no more Bushes. A Democracy where human needs are prioritized and not the needs of the rich and the corporations. Where health care and education are defined as Human Rights.

A Democracy that prioritizes youth as the most important Investment for the future of our nation and builds more schools instead of prisons.

THIS VISION WILL TAKE A LONG TIME TO MAKE COME TRUE. But What I have learned in my lifetime is that struggle is life and life is struggle. But most importantly, that victory is in the struggle!Congratulations to each and every one of you. Love, Peace, and Justice to you all!

More on Carlos Munoz -
Dr. Carlos Muñoz, Jr. was born in the “segundo barrio” in El Paso , Texas , and raised in the barrios of East Los Angeles , California . He is the son of poor working class Mexican immigrants. He earned his AA from Los Angeles City Community College , his BA with honors in Political Science from California State University at Los Angeles and his Ph.D. in Government from the Claremont Graduate School . He is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California , Berkeley . After 37 years of teaching in higher education, he has gained international prominence as political scientist, historian, journalist, and public intellectual.

Dr. Muñoz was the founding chair of the first Chicano Studies department in the nation in 1968 at the California State University at Los Angeles and the founding chair of the National Association of Chicana & Chicano Studies (NACCS). He is a pioneer in the creation of undergraduate and graduate curricula in the disciplines of Ethnic Studies. He is the author of numerous pioneering works on the Mexican American political experience and on African American and Latino political coalitions. His book, Youth, Identity, Power: The Chicano Movement won the Gustavus Myers Book Award for “outstanding scholarship in the study of human rights in the Untied States”. The book is in its 12th printing and was a major resource for the PBS television series “Chicano! History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement“. Dr. Muñoz was the senior consultant for the project and was also featured in the series.
Dr. Muñoz is an acknowledged expert on the issues of ethnic and racial politics, multiculturalism and diversity, immigration, civil and human rights, and affirmative action.
As a scholar-activist, Dr. Muñoz has been a central figure in the struggles for civil and human rights, social justice, and peace in the United States and abroad since he was a student activist in the 1960s. He played a prominent leadership role as a founder of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement. Since then he has served as a leading organizer of various multiracial coalitions, including the Faculty for Human Rights in Central America , Faculty Against Apartheid in South Africa , and The Rainbow Coalition. In 1988, he was a key advisor to the Jesse Jackson presidential campaign. He served on the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and is a co-founder of the Institute for Multiracial Justice in San Francisco , California . He also co-founded Latinos Unidos, a grassroots community organization in Berkeley , California . Dr. Muñoz is a Vietnam Era Veteran and a member of the Veterans for Peace and is active in the Counter-Military Recruitment in the Public Schools Movement as well as in the larger Anti-Iraq War Movement.

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